Czech traditions

The oldest tram in Prague is one hundred years old

historic_tramway If all the Prague tramways were so old, the Prague Public Transport Company (MHD) probably wouldn’t get so many customers, but there is just this one, on its regular route 91 – the tourist sightseeing tramway.

Its evidence number is 240, its first day in work was in 1908. The design was very modern until 1930’s – its round corners, luminous interior, lined with combination of mahogany and red ash still evoke refined feelings.

And where will the oldest working tram in Prague take you? On a route around Prague Castle, on a trip in the historic centre, with the sight of Charles Bridge and around Vltava River. Recommended for romantic types and those who like ‘the good ol’ times’

Letters for Baby Jesus in Czech Republic

As each year, the Post office at Bozi Dar (Gift of God) CR, gets letters in total weight about 500 kg. The letters are sent to Baby Jesus, an has wishes inside – toys for kids, or even wishes like ‘dad should stop smoking’ or ‘mam should be less worried’.

If you want to send your wishes to Baby Jesus, the address is Jeziskova Posta, 362 62, Bozi Dar, Czech Republic. Don’t forget, Baby Jesus does the same job as Santa Claus in the United States, but with one difference – Baby Jesus loves all, so he doesn’t make a list with good/bad deeds. Also, he doesn’t use chimneys.

As Baby Jesus is supernatural, he doesn’t have to open the letters to know what is inside. But the letters have to be stamped, for which the post in Bozi Dar have to work very hard until 22th of December.

Christmas Markets in Prague Begins

this is how it looked like the last year This Saturday eventing those forty thousands light bulbs on the Old Town square Christmas tree are going to be lighted up, and Christmas markets of this Noel begins.

Marry Drunk Christmas at the Old Town Square “Compared to the previous years there are going to be more stances with refreshments”, said the leading organizer of Tamiko company. “The decorations are going to include four 7-meters tall laser light angels, placed at the corners of the market place.”

Isn’t it just great – the right Christmas spirit needs those stances offering mull, after which crowds of drunken tourists are going to potter around! And what would be Christmas without laser angels. What is going to be there the next year? Mull tanks and laser Baby Jesus getting out of a laser comet? Marry Christmas!

Testing the Sirens

sirens - build by the communists as a propaganda tool, are usually silent, which we appreciate As George Orwell puts it; “To see what’s in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle” and we have to agree with him. Like in this case, when an American blogger Julia finds how weird can be something, we all take for granted. Let’s find out, what lurks in Prague for an un-prepared Southener.

The first time I heard them go off, June 1999, I was working in our office alone, skipping lunch. The noise was deafening and I thought Prague was under attack. It wasn’t something you could ignore, so I climbed to the cat walk on top of our building and looked out over the city and down the highways heading out of town, wondering how fast I could get to the nearest metro in case anything really was happening, wondering how Will and I would find each other in the melee.

Read the whole article HERE.

May 1st – an unordinary day in Prague

Do you want to know more about celebrating 1st May in the Czech Republic? We bring you some ideas:

The celebrations of May 1st are in many people’s mind connected with the huge celebrations during the communist regime. For over forty years, there were float parades in all big cities in the back then Czechoslovakia. The biggest parade was, of course, in Prague, to be more precise, in Letna Plain, Prague 7.

The participation on those massive communist manifestations celebrating the Labor Day was mandatory. People had to go if they didn’t want to have troubles. And so the big plain in Letna witnessed every year on May 1st the same scenario – thousands of people waving little Czechoslovak and Soviet flags at the communists party officials who were seated on a tribune decorated in red, with huge pictures of Marxist leaders and signs “With Soviet Union Forever”. For everyone this was a waste of time… (read the whole article)

The Burning of the Witches in Prague

Witch flying on broom One of the popular Czech traditions is The Burning of the Witches Night on the 30th April when people make bonfires and burn witches made from straw and old cloth to end the long winter that the witches keep around. There are many bonfires throughout the country, accompanied with roasting sausages and singing favourite songs.

There are several places where to go in Prague and join this tradition. One of the places is the sport and recreation area Zlute Lazne. The programme is prepared from 18:00 to 22:00, there is no entrance fee. You can get there from metro station Karlovo namesti (exit to Palackeho namesti) by trams no. 3, 16, 17, 21, 52, stop Dvorce.

Another place where you can enjoy the atmosphere with many witches around (there will be a competition for Miss Witch) is the park Ladronka. You can ‘improve’ yourself in the special Witch Beauty Parlour at the venue. You can get there from Hradcanska metro station by tram no. 25, stop Vypich.

Witches will also meet in the centre of Prague. Their meeting is in Malostranske namesti at 19:30. They will walk with Chinese lanterns along Mostecka street, Charles Bridge, Kampa to Sovovy mlyny near the Vltava River.

Brevnov fair starts

Brevnovske posviceni is a name for the traditional fair that takes place in front of the Brevnov Monastery (Brevnovsky klaster) in Marketska street, Prague 6.

From today visitors can enjoy their time on the fair-ground, by watching jugglers and entertainers, by listening to the live music, tasting good drinks and meals or by buying souvenirs on the market. Splendid fireworks are on the programme at 19:05 every day.

This year is a bit special. An attempt to break a world record will be made – to bake the largest Brevnov pie. Also the most beautiful young girls in Europe – the finalists of Miss Europe-Junior – will join the feast at 14:00 on Saturday.

The Brevnov fair closes at 22:00 every day and it is held until Sunday 8th October. Together with the fair, the Brevnov Monastery is open to the public.

International Folklore Fair 2006

Today begins International Folklore Fair, where are presented twenty-one folklore groups from the whole world. The performance of groups is not an only thing. People can see creating of huge wooden sculpture of a clown or traditional old-Bohemian crafts. Products ban be bought by special medieval coins – gros (a penny), which can be changed in special exchange offices at the place.

Folklore groups are for example from Bulgaria, Romania, Columbia, Mexico or Cook Islands. The exhibition are twice a day, from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m. for kids, main programme starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.

People can also see dance groups from Prague House of Children and Youth who will present historical, country, sport, cheerleader and classical dances every day from Thursday to Saturday.

The Fair opening ceremony is today at 8 p.m. and the event ends on this Sunday.

Traditional Troja Fair in the botanical garden

The first revived Troja fair is to take place on this Sunday – 13th August. The location of the feast is the vineyard and the external display of the botanical garden. The festive day will have a very rich programme, which is certain to be interesting as well as entertaining for the whole families.

The visitors can look forward to listening to or even dancing to music of bands Trehusk and Miniband. There will also be performances of dance group Ambrosia – concretely their dance from the medieval tavern and a fire show. Other things the organisers prepared include many competitions such as raffle. A return to the medieval times will be provided by the historical fencing, falconers and there should also be an opportunity to try shooting with cross- and long-bows. Medieval refreshments as well as a historical market will not be missing either.

The programme starts at eleven o’clock in the morning and lasts till ten o’clock in the evening. The entrance fee is forty crowns for the adults and half of that is the reduced price. The garden can be comfortably reached by bus 112 from metro station Nadrdazi Holesovice.

New attraction at the Prague Castle

A special replication of a historical crane has appeared at the Prague Castle and immediately won a great deal of attention on the side of the visitors. The machine was built using traditional methods, tools and also materials – it is mostly wooden and the metal components were made by blacksmith.

It imitates cranes used during the medieval ages – more specifically its original would be found at the Castle (helping the craftsmen to built St Vitus’s Cathedral) under the reign of Wenceslas IV. The driving mechanism of the machine is rather simple – the energy was provided by human muscles helping to rotate the giant wheel. Volunteers had the opportunity to “go for a walk” and lift thus a burden weighing two hundred kilogrammes. In the future it will also be possible for the brave ones to be raised twelve metres and enjoy thus the Cathedral from bird’s perspective.

The crane belongs to the exhibition The Story of the Prague Castle and will be “in action” also on 7th and 14th August as well as on certain September days. Not only can you try to manipulate the crane but there will also be an opportunity to learn more about the way these machines were used in the middle ages. Afterwards the functional attraction will be moved to castle Tocnik to aid with the renovation works there.

Sokols are in Prague

Sokols (Falcons) are in Prague. The physical training organisation for people in every age has large meeting in Prague in these days.

Twenty thousand members of XIV. Sokol meeting in garbs and gym-dresses marched in Prague center. They began at Wenceslas square and through the way near Rudolfinum and Siroka and Parizska street they end their way at Old Town Square. Sokols are from every corner of Czech Republic and even from All Europe, United States, Canada or Brazil.

Sokols started their programme in Sazka Arena and their most important part is this Wednesday at 9 pm and Thursday st 2 pm at Strahov Stadium. Sokols will perform in twenty compositions more than 17.000 gymnasts.

The Sokol festival brought some traffic restrictions, especially in a surrounding of Vrsovice railway station. The festival ends 7th July.

Great brass band festival in Sazka Arena

Do you know brass music? This kind of music is called “music of our grandmothers” in Czech Republic. And this will have a concert 7th October in Prague Sazka Arena.

Brass music and brass bands was very popular. It is a part of Czech culture and still it is very popular among old people and at the countryside. Most known music is Polka. Polka, Polka and waltz. Most known is “Skoda lasky” by Czech Vladimir Vejvoda. English version is know as Beer Barrel Polka.

16 most popular brass bands will perform 7th October. There will be also best band Moravanka. An audience can also see hundreds of majorettes. The Brass music and majorettes are wedded, because both of them has an origin in the march music.

A tramp Prague-Prcice has 18.000 walkers

Every one could take a tramp from Prague to Prcice this Saturday.
This traditional tramp for tourists has 41 years. This Saturday 18.000 take a walk, but in communistic years it was even 35.000 in eighties, because this was one of few actions allowed by governments.

Tradition of walking from Prague to a village Sedlec-Prcice has a fun history. 41 years ago chief of Karel Kulle said to his employee “Jdi do Prcic!” This means in Czech “Blast you!” or “Go to hell”. It is a common explanation of disagreement with something. And Karel Kulle accepted this literally. He was heated hiker, so he took a walk to 70 kilometers distant Prcice. The journey in nature was beautiful as well as village Prcice, so he decided to make a trip Praha-Prcice for everyone who is interested.

Now Praha-Prcice has 14 lines, longest is original one from Prague, others are shorter and starts in some towns on the track Prague-Tabor. Shortest line is 23km long. This year there was 419 bikers on three lines from 76 to 62 kilometers.

Reward for everyone, who get to Prcice is traditional: A little plastic boot as a trophy to a neck and one tatranka biscuit.

Folk dancers at Old Town Square

I’ve found nice photos of folk/national dance, where artistic group presented a piece of our history, tradition and culture.

The dances were described as being from Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and Hungary.
The music was provided by a fairly large cimbalom group which, if memory serves me, had four violins, two violas, a bass, and two clarinets in addition to the cimbalom.

If you can’t imagine how can old Slavonic music sound, than closest known music style is something like polka an wiener waltz.

Here are the photos.

"Burn her, she's a witch!"

I used this quotation from Monty Python’s as an introduction of an old Czech tradition. It is Burning of witches and it is an old tradition on 30th April, which in middle ages was made as a protection against witches, sorcerers or demons.

Night of 30th April is also named Philip-Jacob’s night and it was believed that magic is very strong in this time. That is why ordinary people light large fires as a protection against witches, which were flying on brooms. Later people made large dolls of witches and they burnt it in this fire. In addition is now Burning of witches connected with roasting of knackwursts.

On 30 April, also commonly named Carodejnice (“Witches”... literally it is A woman, who makes magic), Carodky or Cary Prague has a lot to offer.

Miss Wich at Prague 6-Ladronka, Troja vineyard will offer a theater fairy tale, garden club Klamovka has a progrem for kids – competition for the best mask. You can visit Cisarska louka, where will be music and competition in computer games.

Easter traditons from view of female foreigner

Czech tradition of whipping girl with pomlazka on Easter Monday can be for someone surprising, strange or confusing. But this tradition is, after Christmas one of strongest in Czech country.
And even it may looks brutal, it’s not true. And what may be for someone surprising, girls enjoy it too. And fact is that no one can be forced to be whipped. But i thing that this tradition is so specific that will survive many years in Czech Republic.

The whipping generally occurs on either the legs or the buttocks. The name of the whip—and the “flogging festival” itself—is the pomlázka. The tradition is a pagan one, and perhaps regrew in popularity during Communist times, in which celebrating the religious focus of Easter was generally forbidden. (Also due to this, Easter Monday and not at all Good Friday or even Easter Sunday is the most celebrated day here). The pomlazka whip is traditionally made of braided willow twigs, but these days men typically just buy them.

Whole article is here

Happy Easter!

I’ve search for some article about Easter in Czech Republic and I’ve found one. It’s from Radio Prague and offers far more information than I can give you here. And it would be pity not to see all pretty pictures. So take a look at Czech and Bohemian traditions.

Easter Monday is a day of joy for children and adults alike. Men and boys set out in search of girls, in order to hit them with their Easter wands, which are braided from four, six, or eight willow branches and decorated with one or more colored ribbons. The original interpretation of the mrskacky or slehacky was one of rejuvenation – transferring the vitality of young twigs to a living being.
During this carolling and whipping, the girls present the boys with eggs – painted, colored, or even just white. The most used color for coloring eggs was red, the color of love. The best known carolling rhyme still remains today.

Rest of this article and much more, for example about Czech Easter Menu or colouring Easter Eggs, you can find on this pretty made pages of Radio Prague.

Happy Easter to all!

Biggest Sokol physical training in Prague

Sokol, one of the oldest (150 years) body and mind training organization in the world is preparing themselves for 14th Vsesokolsky slet (All sokol-meeting or literally Falcon fly-together), which is prepared each six years as a presentation of member efforts.

Sokol continues on Ancient Greek tradition of kalokagatia – perfectness of human mind and body with most known motto: In health body, health spirit. So is Sokol free-entering organization based on physical efforts as well as cultural, national and mind development.

14th Vsesokolsky slet is starting on 1st july 2006 in Prague with almost 20,000 exercising members in various